He’s Swedish and his name looks almost the same on paper, but no, the Los Angeles Kings didn’t sign Johan Franzen. Instead, the team signed Swedish Elite League defenseman Johan Fransson to a one-year contract. Rich Hammond shares some details about the blueliner.
Fransson became Kings property after the Feb. 2007 trade that sent Mattias Norstrom to Dallas, but Fransson had been unsigned and playing in the Swedish Elite League. Fransson, 25, is 6-foot-1, 183 pounds, and totaled 11 goals, 19 assists and 26 penalty minutes in 54 games last season for Lucea HF.
It sounds like Fransson will have a shot at making the Kings’ defensive rotation by attending training camp this summer.
The thing is, the Kings D-core is loaded with young talent already. Obviously, there’s Norris Trophy candidate Drew Doughty leading the charge, but the Kings also feature prospects and/or young starters such as Jack Johnson, Vyacheslav Voynov, Thomas Hickey, Alec Martinez, Colten Teubert, Nicolas Deslauriers and Davis Drewinskie. There might even be a player or two who was lost in that ridiculously deep group of young players.
While it won’t be easy for Fransson – or any of the second tier players in that group – the Kings benefit from considerable depth. This could allow them to recover from injuries or even trade for proven NHL players.
I think the Kings are the future … *cough* kings of the Pacific division. They’re building their team the right way, too, with incremental improvements rather than stabs in the dark. Of course, things could change if they go after Ilya Kovalchuk as many have wondered.
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016